Vol. 28 No. 20 - February 5, 2024


  • Summer Undergraduate Research Program Accepting Proposals

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    The Office of Student Research is accepting TruScholars proposals for research and creative scholarship conducted over the eight-week summer term, June 3 through July 26.

    The purpose of this grant is to promote intensive, faculty-student collaborative research to enhance student learning and promote a culture of research, scholarship and creative activities at Truman. Projects supported by this program should exhibit the potential for scholarly publication, presentation at a regional or national conference, public performance or a gallery exhibit.

    Grant applications may request up to $5,750 and can include a $3,500 max student stipend and a $1,750 max mentor stipend.

    More information about the TruScholars program is available on the Office of Student Research website. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Feb. 22.

    Any additional questions about TruScholars can be directed to osr@truman.edu.
  • Gifted Education Webinar Spotlights Program Offerings and Certification Standards

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    A webinar spotlighting Truman’s gifted education program will take place from 4-4:30 p.m. Feb. 15 via Zoom.

    Jeanne Harding, director of graduate studies and advisor for the gifted education program, will conduct the webinar. She will discuss Truman’s gifted education program and share information from the Jan. 9 State of Missouri Board of Education’s meeting regarding updates to gifted certification for 2024-2025. Registration for the webinar can be found here. There is no registration fee required.

    Truman is proud to be a leader in gifted education and support schools by offering a completely online Master of Arts in Gifted Education degree that culminates in DESE certification. Currently, the cost is $310 per credit hour, and there are no additional fees. For those who are not seeking a master’s degree, enrollment for individual gifted education certification courses is also available. As July 1, 2024 nears and Senate Bill 681 goes into effect, Truman is working to support schools that are developing and/or enhancing their gifted education programming.

    Further details about the Master of Arts in Gifted Education program are available on the website or by emailing gifted@truman.edu. Truman’s program has fall, spring and summer start dates. Summer 2024 classes will begin May 28.
  • Fraternity Alumni Honor Brother’s Memory with Charitable Work

    Alumni from Truman’s chapter of Phi Kappa Tau came together for a fundraising event at 4 Hands Brewing Co. in St. Louis, Jan. 28. Since 2015, alumni of the organization have raised nearly $150,000 to support families affected by ALS. Pictured, standing, from left, Austin Bender (’16, ’17), Kyle Deutsch (’03), Spencer Wilson (’18), Jason Ingenbohs (’00), Greg Guntli (’04), Steve Williams (’00, ’01), Scott Symank (’99) with son Drew, Pete Guntli (’02), Brian Eicholz (’99) and Jeff Wagner (’00). Pictured, seated, from left, Luke Gentry (’17, ’18) and Quaid Besing (’17).

    When Scott Klasner met some of his future fraternity brothers for the first time at a golf range rush event in the fall of 1999, he awed them with a rendition of a Tiger Woods trick shot.

    “Scott was showing off his skills with a pitching wedge and doing the juggling act where he hits the ball at the end,” said Pete Guntli (’02). “It was pretty impressive.”

    The feat requires a certain level of athleticism, fluid movement and precise timing. The cruel irony no one could have known then was Klasner would one day be diagnosed with ALS. This debilitating disease would rob him of his faculties and take his life before the age of 40. Although his time on Earth was cut short, his brothers from Phi Kappa Tau fraternity are making sure his spirit lives on by raising money for families affected by ALS.

    “When you join a fraternity, they say it is for life,” Guntli said. “When you are 18 you have no idea what that means. I am 45 now, and some of my closest friends are still those who are my fraternity brothers.”

    Ask anyone who knew him and a picture of Klasner quickly emerges – humorous, intelligent, easy going. He was the type of person people would naturally gravitate toward.

    “The biggest thing he did was always give me a boost of confidence in whatever I did,” said Greg Guntli (’04). “I played music in a band during my sophomore year with some guys from a different fraternity. Scott encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and go out on my own. I can honestly say his encouragement is what gave me the courage to do that.”

    Steve Williams (’00, ’01) thought so highly of Klasner he set him up with his sister-in-law, Sherry. The couple hit it off and were married in 2014. By all accounts, Klasner was living the American Dream. After graduating from Truman, he earned a Ph.D. from Kansas State University, and he enjoyed his job in Texas as an analytical chemist. Things were great. Until they weren’t.

    Kyle Deutsch (’03) had known Klasner since their days as classmates at De Smet Jesuit High School in suburban St. Louis. Acquaintances then, they grew close during their time at the University. Deutsch was one of many brothers who celebrated with Klasner at his bachelor party, not long before he received his diagnosis.

    “I had heard there were some health items he was trying to figure out, but I never would have thought ALS could be an option,” Deutsch said. “My shock and confusion turned to sadness since Scott was just married, so young and had a full life ahead of him.”

    After their time at Truman, Deutsch and Williams, as well as the Guntli brothers, returned to the St. Louis area and remained close. Following Klasner’s diagnosis, they spearheaded a fundraising event to support Scott and Sherry. In the fall of 2015, the brothers organized Scottoberfest, a family friendly event at De Smet that included music, games, food and a silent auction. A huge success, it was the first of a variety of fundraisers they would oversee in the coming years. Events included mouse races, raffles, football squares and annual get togethers at an area brewery. To help facilitate many of the activities, the group relied on support from Phi Tau members.

    “It was very moving to see Phi Taus that knew Scott well come together, but also to see Phi Taus past and present that had never met Scott step up and be active with our events, either by attending or directly volunteering to assist with the efforts,” Deutsch said.

    The brothers estimate more than 50 fraternity alumni helped in some capacity, volunteering upwards of 200 hours each year. This grassroots approach paid off in the form of $100,000 generated to support Scott and Sherry.

    As useful as money can be, and as successful as their efforts were, they could not delay the inevitable. Most ALS patients live two to five years after their diagnosis, and while Klasner gave it all he had for as long as he could, he passed away in May 2019.

    At that point, it would have been easy for the brothers to end their crusade. They had come together to support a fellow brother in his time of need, and they did that, valiantly, for four years. Instead, they refocused and moved forward, establishing the Scott Klasner ALS Benefit Fund. Working with the St. Louis chapter of the ALS Association, they identify families in need of financial support and focus their efforts on those people the same way they did for Scott and Sherry.

    “Most people are looking for some window of hope in a hopeless situation,” Greg Guntli said. “I can tell you the emotion shared by the individuals that we help is one of pure joy and gratitude. The money may be just a drop in the bucket for the cost that they are incurring to treat this disease, but the glimmer of hope that comes with finding out someone else is out there working and caring for you is the biggest benefit.”

    Since its establishment, the Scott Klasner ALS Benefit Fund has donated nearly $50,000 to assist nine families. The brothers have a goal to raise $100,000 for others in an effort to match the work they did for Scott and Sherry, but they don’t plan to stop there.

    “We want to continue helping people until there is a cure,” Williams said. “This has been a great opportunity to continue the philanthropic spirit we first shared as fraternity brothers in college, and it has provided the four of us with an opportunity to work on a cause that is greater than ourselves. We consider ourselves to be ‘On a Mission from Scott’ to carry out his desire to make something good from his diagnosis.”

    Scott and Sherry Klasner
  • Annual Piano Festival to Occur Feb. 16-17


    The 41st annual Truman Piano Festival will take place Feb. 16-17 in the Ophelia Parrish Performance Hall.

    This year’s featured guest artist is Dr. Slawomir Dobrzanski, professor of piano at Kansas State University. At 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, he will perform a solo recital featuring works by Beethoven, Szymanowska, Chopin, Schonberg and Prokofiev. At 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Feb. 17, he will conduct a master class featuring Truman piano majors. All events are free and open to the public.

    As a soloist and chamber musician, Dobrzanski often performs in Asia, Europe, South America and throughout the United States and Canada. Under the London-based Acte Prealable label, Dobrzanski has released several critically acclaimed CD albums of previously unknown piano repertoire by Maria Szymanowska (complete piano music), Anton de Kontski, Wiktor Labunski (complete piano music) and Károly Aggházy. He has also recorded solo and chamber music for Polish radio and television in Warsaw.

    Dobrzanski is a graduate of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland, and the University of Connecticut. In 1993, he won the Naftzger Young Artist Award and was the Naftzger Piano Division Winner. Dobrzanski joined the Kansas State University music faculty in 2005. Prior to his appointment at Kansas State, he was a member of music faculties at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and the University of Rhode Island.

    Dobrzanski’s former piano students are currently pursuing artistic and academic careers all over the world, across North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Many have become highly successful soloists and chamber musicians, often while serving simultaneously on the music faculties of colleges, music conservatories and community music schools. He is the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Teacher Award from Kansas Music Teachers Association.
  • Theatre Department Work Earns Recognition at Regional Conference

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    The Truman Theatre Department shared work at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival – Region 5, Jan. 16-21, in Des Moines, Iowa, and brought home a number of awards.

    The festival serves as an opportunity for college students to present their work with fellow students and respondents. Brad M. Carlson, associate professor of theatre at Truman, welcomed the whole festival as the regional chair.

    Four video auditions submitted by Truman students were announced as semi-finalists for Irene Ryan Scholarships: Lauren Cavanah with partner Morgan Youngstrom; Jack Danter with partner Aubrey Gogel; Gogel with partner Danter; and Shashyana Rodrigo with partner Logan Honerkamp.

    Three achievements were awarded at the closing ceremony for the festival. Danter was recognized for Outstanding Direction of a Stage Reading for a 10-Minute Play, “Kristallglas.” Two students also received recognition for their work on Truman’s production of “12 Angry Jurors.” Kayla Cotter received Meritorious Achievement in First Time Stage Management, and Alex Crawford received recognition for her Digital Lobby Display.

    The Theatre Department also gained several Certificates of Merit for productions performed in 2023. For “Mousetrap,” Truman was awarded two certificates. Taylor Baldwin was recognized for Costume Design, and Danter was awarded for Stage Management and Stepping Into a Lead Role at the Last Minute. Carlson received a certificate for Puppet Design, and for the Voice and Manipulation of the puppet Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors.” Ryan Zickel, Natalie Sampson and Emma Lewis each acquired a certificate. Savannah Carmichael was recognized for her Musical Direction and Conducting. Tristin Baro gained a certificate for Costume and Wigs, and Cat Gleason, assistant professor, received a certificate for Directorial Concept. Finally, the entire crew was recognized for Creatives, Cast, Musicians, and Crew Collaboration and Fostering Inclusivity and Community.

    For “12 Angry Jurors,” three certificates were awarded. Carlson received a certificate for Scenic Design, Crawford received one for Dramaturgy, and the entire cast were recognized with an Ensemble Performance certificate.

    Several more Certificates of Merit were awarded for “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.” Danter was honored for Direction and Choreography. Gael Jenks received a certificate for Fight Choreography. Two professors received certificates for their designs, Carlson for Scenic and Projection Design, and Anna Pikiben for Costume, Hair and Makeup Design. Pikiben was also invited to be a part of the Costume Parade at the festival for their “Percy Jackson” design work. The two dramaturgs, Jonah Husgen and Parker Shinn, were awarded a certificate for their work. Lydia Lamb and Danter both received certificates for Costume Crafts, and Kayla Cotter obtained merit for Stage Management.

    Information about upcoming Theatre Department productions can be found online here.


  • Delta Sigma Pi to Begin Recruitment


    Delta Sigma Pi is a co-ed professional business fraternity open to all business, accounting and finance majors. Members of Delta Sigma Pi have access to events, conferences, resources and connections to build professional skills, leadership ability, management potential and character. The three pillars of the fraternity are professionalism, service and brotherhood.

    They will host their recruitment at 7 p.m. Feb. 5-8 in the Student Union Building Activities Room. For more information follow DSP on Instagram or email deltasigmapi@gmail.com.
  • Blood Drive Set for Feb. 6-7

    Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Epsilon Kappa will sponsor a Red Cross blood drive from 11:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6-7 in the Student Union Building Georgian Rooms. To make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and enter TrumanState. All donors who sign up will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.

  • Spring Break Backpacking Trip Available with TruOutdoors


    TruOutdoors is planning a spring break backpacking trip to various areas in Kentucky and Virginia.

    The first informational meeting will take place from 6-7 p.m. Feb. 8. The second meeting is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. Feb. 22. Both meetings will take place in Baldwin Hall 305. The first meeting will discuss the trip’s itinerary, what to expect on a backpacking trip, cost estimates and other details. The trip fee is anticipated to cost roughly $100. The second meeting will go into further detail. Attending the meetings is not a commitment to attend the trip.

    TruOutdoors backpacking trips are open to people of all experience levels. For more information visit the trip website or email Celia Barbieri, TruOutdoors president, at ie88642@truman.edu.
  • Pizza Bowl Returns Feb. 9


    In honor of National Pizza Day, Feb. 9, students are invited to attend Spike’s Annual Pizza Bowl for free pizza and a chance to vote for the best pizza in town.

    Pizza Bowl will pit local vendors in competition for the students’ choice of the best overall pizza in Kirksville. From 2-4 p.m. in the Student Union Building Georgian Room, students can stop by for free samples from all participating local vendors. Voting will take place on Truman’s Instagram, and students will be eligible for prizes. Other giveaways, including Spike’s Annual Pizza Bowl stickers, will also be available at the event.      

    The winning business will receive a pizza trophy. Follow Truman’s Instagram, @trumanstate, for updates and information on how to vote.
  • Show Truman Spirit by Participating in Purple Friday

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    All members of the Truman community are encouraged to show their Truman spirit by wearing purple on Fridays.

    Students can enter to win an online giveaway by posting their Purple Friday outfits and tagging Truman on Instagram. The giveaway deadline is 2 p.m. Feb. 9. Students that wear purple on Fridays have a chance to randomly receive a free drink coupon to Starbucks or Einsteins.
    In honor of Purple Friday, $5 spirit shirts will be available for purchase from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and March 1 at the information desk in the Student Union Building. Purchases can be made by cash or card. Miniature foam fingers will be available as a giveaway at the Feb. 15 women’s and men’s basketball games.
  • Organization Offers Free Help with Tax Preparation


    Beta Alpha Psi will host Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) sessions from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 10, Feb. 24 and March 23 in Violette Hall 1424.

    Clients who come to VITA should bring: social security cards for spouses and dependents; bank routing numbers and bank account numbers for direct deposit; wage and earnings statements such as W-2, 1098T and 1099; and a copy of last year’s federal and state tax returns if available. VITA services will be completed by IRS-certified volunteers and will also offer free electronic filing to receive a faster return.

    Appointments are required. Truman students can make appointments online. Truman staff and community members must call 660.785.6064 to schedule. For more information, visit bap.truman.edu/vita.
  • Entrepreneur Speaker Series Features Alumna


    Madelaine Anderson will speak from 12-12:50 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Doug & Diane Villhard Innovation Lab located in the Pickler Memorial Library, as part of the TRU-Entrepreneur Speaker Series.

    Anderson is the co-founder and creative director of Talus Films, a video production company that creates original documentary content and impactful films for purpose-driven brands. A 2011 graduate of the University, Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater. Her diverse background includes project management, producing, podcasting, professional acting, production design, aerial silks and a life-long passion for storytelling.

    Alongside her film work, Anderson hosts “The Wild We Share,” a podcast fostering connection and stewardship outdoors. An avid lover of being outside, she enjoys hiking, camping, backpacking and traveling with her family. After more than a decade in Chicago, she now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her husband, daughter and black lab.
  • Earth Week Committee Seeks Members

    Applications for the Earth Week Planning Committee are currently open for Earth Week 2024. The Earth Week Planning Committee is open to all interested students. This year, Earth Week is April 20-26. Planning Committee meetings will begin in mid-February. Applications can be found here.

    Questions regarding the planning committee or Earth Week involvement can be directed to the Sustainability Office at sust01@truman.edu or the event coordinator directly at odr8372@truman.edu.

  • Global Issues Colloquium Discusses Fulbright Experience


    The Global Issues Colloquium event, “Fulbright in Uganda: Capacity Building and Fund Raising,” will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in Magruder Hall 2001. Ernie Hughes, vice president for University advancement, will discuss his Fulbright experience in tropical East Africa, where he was a consultant for one of the continents oldest and most prestigious institutions, Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda.  

    At Makerere, Hughes was in the Fulbright Scholar Specialist Program, which was to help build infrastructure to create philanthropic opportunities for the university. His mission was to help Makerere raise money to keep its institution running effectively. To do so, Hughes had to navigate cross-cultural barriers and seek common understanding to achieve the program’s goals.
  • Lunar New Year Celebration Features Food and Prizes

    The Chinese Language and Culture Association (formerly the Society for Sino-American Studies) is proud to present the Lunar New Year Gala, Feb. 17 in the Student Union Building Georgian Room. Scan the QR code on the event poster to gain entry to this free, cultural event with live performances, delicious dinner and prizes to be won. The Chinese Language and Culture Association will celebrate the Year of the Dragon by sharing a delightful treat: dragon beard candy. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the festivities will commence at 6 p.m.

  • Save the Date: University Spring SPAW

    3:30 p.m.
    Feb. 21
    Student Union Building Georgian Rooms

    President Sue Thomas will give an address at 3:30 p.m., followed by spring Strategic Planning and Assessment Workshop (SPAW) sessions.

  • Opportunities to Gain Mental Health Training

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    Students, faculty and staff will have the chance to attend training sessions to learn more about mental health and how to help someone in need.

    QPR training is being offered to students at 3 p.m. Feb. 26 or March 18, and offered to faculty and staff at 5 p.m. Feb. 28 or March 20. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. QPR is an emergency mental health intervention for suicidal persons. With this training, people will be better equipped to save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. Sign up is available here.

    A free virtual Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training will take place 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 13. MHFA will teach participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Registration is required and can be found here. Several faculty and staff completed the mental health first aid training before the semester began.
  • Applications Available for Summer Museums and Archives Internships


    Applications are now being accepted for summer internships at the following locations in Missouri:

    •    Columbia: State Historical Society of Missouri
    •    Jefferson City: Missouri State Archives
    •    Kansas City: Harry Truman Presidential Library, National World War I Museum
    •    St. Joseph: St. Joseph Museums
    •    St. Louis: Campbell House Museum, Missouri History Museum, Mercantile Library
    •    Springfield: MSU Special Collections and Archive

    The summer internships are open to all Truman students, but they are especially relevant for those considering careers in archives, museums and teaching. For more information email Jason McDonald, assistant professor of history, at jasonmcd@truman.edu.
  • Career Center Hosts Student Worker Fair

    The Career Center is hosting its Student Worker Fair from 1-4 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Student Union Georgian Rooms. At this event, students will have the opportunity to meet Truman departments and local organizations that employ or provide scholarship and work-study hours.

    Departments or organizations interested in participating can sign up through #HireTruman by Feb. 20. Departments that do not have an account will need to create one. For more information contact the Joel Brumfield, career services coordinator, or call 660.785.4237.
  • Environmental Committee Accepting Project Proposals

    Environmental Sustainability Fee Allotment Committee (ESFAC) is currently seeking proposals for improving sustainability and environmentalism on campus. Any member of the Truman community can propose a project idea to the committee for consideration. In the past they have funded projects such as updated compost equipment, bee houses, solar power for the University Farm and reusable water bottle fillers. Proposals can be completed using this form. The deadline for proposal submission is Feb. 25.

  • Financial Aid Office Ready to Assist Students with New FAFSA Guidelines

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    In the wake of massive changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this year, Truman’s Financial Aid Office is available to help students navigate the process and receive the maximum amount of support.

    All students in need of financial assistance are encouraged to complete the FAFSA. Federal Student Aid is the largest provider of financial aid for college students in the United States. Even though a student may not qualify for grants or work-study, all students are considered for the Federal Direct Loan (no co-signer required). Filing the FAFSA does not commit students to taking a loan, but it does allow for more options.

    The 2024-25 FAFSA will use 2022 tax year information with a priority deadline of April 1, 2024 for Missouri residents. It is strongly recommended to apply or renew before April 1 Details about the FAFSA can be found online at studentaid.gov.

    Truman’s Financial Aid Office is currently working on details of when aid offers will be available for new incoming students as well as current students. This year it will most likely be later this spring.

    In celebration of Financial Aid Awareness Month, the Financial Aid Office in McClain Hall 103 will have free candy available. Students are encouraged to visit the office and discuss any questions they may have about financial aid. Along with processing the FAFSA to determine federal, state and some University funds, the office provides information about scholarship service and renewal for returning students. They can also help with private scholarship check processing, funding for study abroad or summer school, budgeting, financial literacy or loan counseling.

    For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at 660.785.4130 or finaid@truman.edu. The Financial Aid Office website also has a variety of helpful resources for students and their families.


  • Business Students Named Semi-Finalists in National Competition

    Jake McCollum (left) and Justin Watson

    Senior business administration students Justin Watson and Jake McCollum have been selected as semi-finalists for the 2024 National Financial Plan Competition sponsored by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC). Of the eight remaining teams, Watson and McCollum are competing for three slots and the chance to present at the IARFC’s 40th Celebration and Conference in Ashville, North Carolina, at the Biltmore Estate.

    The IARFC National Financial Plan Competition is open only to undergraduate university students who are enrolled in a curriculum of personal financial planning or financial services at a university or college in the U.S. and international chapters. Professors register their students to compete in the NFPC to enhance and gain the real-world experiences needed in developing a financial plan. The competition progresses through three stages, ending in three teams of students presenting their plan in person to a “real client” at the IARFC Annual Meeting in front of an audience.

    Watson and McCollum were registered for the competition by Yung-Hawl Park, chair and associate professor of business administration.
  • Daschke Attends Film Festival

    Dereck Daschke, professor of philosophy and religion, attended the Sundance Film Festival in January to review films for the Journal of Religion and Film. His reviews can be found online.

  • History Student Appointed to the Missouri Association of Museums and Archives Board

    Liz Nahach, a history major and museum studies minor, has been appointed as the student representative for the executive board of the Missouri Association of Museums and Archives.